Constantine Maleinos

1. Biography

Constantine Maleinos was a scion of one of the most prominent families of the military aristocracy of Asia Minor, situated in the region of Cappadocia, in the theme of Charsianon. He was born at the end of the 9th or the beginning of the 10th century. His birthplace is not mentioned in the sources but it must have been Cappadocia, where his family held great fortune1 and he spent the greatest part of his life. As a scion of an aristocratic family, his upbringing must have been thorough, focusing on military training, as can be inferred from his later career. His father was Eudokimos Maleinos, while his mother Anastaso was a member of the aristocratic Andralestos family. Among his six siblings, the most famous were saint Michael Maleinos (whose fortune Constantine acquired when his brother became a monk) and Sophia, wife of Bardas Phokas and mother of the later emperor Nikephoros II Phokas. He had a son named Eustathios. In his son’s house in Charsianon, his relative Bardas Phokas was proclaimed emperor (August 15th, 987) when he rebelled against the imperial power.

His exact date of death is not mentioned in the sources but it must be placed at the end of the 960’s, most probably in 968, in the region of Cappadocia, where he served as strategos.

2. Military career

Little information about the political and military career of Constantine Maleinos can be found in the sources, especially in the Life of his brother Michael.2 It is certain that he was honored with the title of patrikios and that he was a member of the Senate. His military career reached its summit in 955, at the time of Constantine VII Porphyrogennetos (945-959), when he succeeded his nephew Leo Phokas in the office of strategos of Cappadocia, an office he maintained for a long time, most probably until 968.3 The prominent place of his family among the aristocratic families of Asia Minor and the close relationship of his brother Michael to the emperor Nikephoros II must have been the reasons why he maintained his office for such a long time, along with his experience in the war of maneuvers on the eastern frontier.4 In November 960, Constantine Maleinos, as the strategos of Cappadocia, participated (along with Leo Phokas, domestikos ton scholon of the West) and shined in the battle of Andrasus, the great victory of the Byzantines against the Hamdanid emir of Aleppo Sayf ad-Dawlah, who had invaded the lands of Asia Minor. It has been presumed that Constantine Maleinos is identified with ibn al-Mala’ini, who, according to the arab sources, failed to repel the attack of the troops of Sayf ad-Dawlah to Ikonion in 962.5

1. Cheynet, J.-C., Pouvoir et contestations a Byzance (963-1210) (Byzantina Sorbonensia 9, Paris 1990), p. 214.

2. Petit, L., “Vie de saint Michel Maleinos”, Revue de l’Orient Chretien 7 (1902), p. 551.6-14.

3. A seal dating back to the 10th century mentions one Constantine, protospatharios and strategos of Cappadocia, most probably identified with Constantine Maleinos. See Βλυσίδου, Β. – Κουντούρα-Γαλάκη, Ε. – Λαμπάκης, Σ. – Λουγγής, Τ. – Σαββίδης, Α., Η Μικρά Ασία των θεμάτων. Έρευνες πάνω στην γεωγραφική φυσιογνωμία και προσωπογραφία των βυζαντινών θεμάτων της Μικράς Ασίας (7ος-11ος αι.) (Ινστιτούτο Βυζαντινών Ερευνών/Επιστημονική Βιβλιοθήκη 1, Athens 1998), p. 442 nr. 12.

4. The long experience of Constantine Maleinos in the war of maneuvers is mentioned in Περί Παραδρομής Πολέμου, a handbook of war tactics of the end of the 10th century. The unknown author mentions Constantine as one of his instructors. See Περί Παραδρομής Πολέμου, Dennis, G. T. (ed.), Three Byzantine Military Treatises (Corpus Fontium Historiae Byzantinae 25, Washington D.C. 1985), proem, 37-41.

5. Cheynet, J.-C., “Les Phokas”, in Dagron, G. – Mihaescu, H. (eds.), Le traite sur la guerila (De velitatione) de l’empereur Nicephore Phokas (963-969) (Paris 1986), pp. 309-310.